In most parts of the world, winter season is loved by people because it brings a certain kind of freshness with it. It also depends on what part of the world you are living in when it comes to your preference of weather. People living in the tropical regions may prefer winter season more because summer season is too warm and uncomfortable while winters are quite comforting. In the temperate regions winters may not be preferred much but still there are festivals like Christmas and New Year which fall in mid winter. It is occasions like these that makes the winter season more exciting. Winter is the time for certain type of outdoor activities too which most of the children and youngsters like skating, snowboarding, sledging, snowballs or snow mobiles. However it is not only the fun and excitement which comes with winter. If appropriate care is not taken then winter can be full of woes. The cold weather, snow and ice carry huge threat for most of the children. As the temperatures drop the parents need to take special care of their children so that they remain warm and healthy. The children won’t be able to tell for themselves if they are feeling cold or not. Their body is also small in size so they lose body heat very fast compared to adults. It is the responsibility of the guardians to take precautionary measures to save their children from potential problems caused by winter. The parents have to stay careful so that they can enjoy the winter season but also make sure that they remain safe. It is important to note that the children have weak immunity power so they are at higher risk to get affected by viruses, Cold, flu and other infections. The children are not only at threat from the illness related with these viruses and infections but they are also at risk from various winter activities like winter sports and the weather itself.
In general there are a few things which need to be carefully considered by the parents to take care of their children during winter. Those points are as mentioned below:
- The children need to be told to stay away from snow blowers and snow plough.
- Don’t let the children to play outside during snow storm or rough weather conditions.
- If the temperature falls to extreme levels below -25 degree Celsius then the children need to remain indoors.
- Make a strict routine for the children so that they have warm drink regularly.
- They have to be regularly checked if they are warm and dry.
- Smaller children below eight years of age should not be left with friends without adult supervision.
- It is the duty of parents to find friends for their children and teach them to look after each other.
- The parents need to make sure that the children never play outside alone.
- The children need to be guided to find a play location with a warm place near it.
- The children need to be told to play at a safe place which is far from the roads, pools or fence.
- For skin care, sun screen skin lotions should be used in any kind of condition.
Special care should be taken to maintain appropriate clothing for the children. Warm clothes can be helpful to save the children from different cold related problems.
Here are some points to consider as you decide on proper winter clothing for the children:
- It is better to use different layers of clothes so that the children can remove the upper layers if they feel warm.
- If the clothes and boots are wet then they have to be removed as soon as possible.
- The parents need to make sure that the children are wearing a warm cap or hat because the head catches cold easily.
- The ears and neck needs to be properly covered to protect from the cold.
- The children need to wear warm and water proof boots of proper size.
- A neck warmer is better instead of a scarf for children.
- If there are any strings on the clothing then they should be removed to prevent strangulation.
- Make the children wear Mitten or warm gloves.
Outdoor activities are very popular among the children during winter. Most active type of physical games does help to keep the body warm but there are some things to be considered while playing outdoors. They are as mentioned below.
- The children should be taught precautionary safety measures about playing outdoors in winter.
- Make sure that they wear safety gears and helmets when indulging in a bit risky sports.
- Children under the age of 16 should not be permitted to drive a snowmobile and smaller children under the age of 6 must not be allowed to ride too.
- The children should be wearing sunscreen and drinking enough liquid when playing outdoors during winter.
- Make them stay away from snow ploughs or snow blowers.
- Don’t let the children play near the road, fence or any water source.
- Advise the children never to touch any metal objects with the tongue.
- Don’t let the children throw snow balls at people or at cars.
- Never eat snow because it can be quite dirty.
Winter skin care
Proper skin care of children is equally important during winter season. The dry and cold weather can harm the child’s skin badly as it is quite soft and prone to harm. So the following things should be done for proper care of skin.
- Give plenty of liquid to drink to the children.
- Apply sunscreen on the children to prevent any skin damage or sun burn.
- The regular soap should be replaced with a soap which has enough moisturizer.
- Use natural type of moisturizers on the children to prevent from any sort or irritation.
- Oils like Coconut oil which is rich in anti oxidants and vitamins are better option for children.
Most children also involve in adventure winter sports and activities during winter season. The main safety measures to be taken while indulging in these activities are as given below.
- Never allow children less than 5 years of age to go alone down a hill.
- It is advised to wear a safe helmet either ski helmet of hockey helmet for snowmobile, skiing, sledding and risky activities.
- Handholds sleds are better than pointed sleds.
- Advise the children to sit up or kneel down on a sled to prevent any injury.
- Make the children stay away from trees, fences or other obstacles while sledding.
- Don’t let the children sled at night unless the slope is well lit.
- Leave way for other sledders once you are on bottom of the hill.
- The skates should be comfortable and it should have ankle support.
- Teach the children to follow the signs while skating for example yellow means to be cautious and red means to stop.
- It is not safe at all to skate on a frozen lake or a pond. The ice should be 10-20 cm thick to be safe for skating or skiing.
- Children should be instructed well by an instructor for skiing or snowboarder. They may not be fully perfectly in coordination until 10 years of age.
- Equipments and binding should be checked properly by an instructor.
- The children should carefully watch other skiers, snowboarders or obstacles like trees and fences.
- Children should be careful about the speed because more speed can cause deadly accidents.
- Make sure that the children wear wrist guards and goggles to protect from wrist injuries and eye injury.
- Always stay on the marked trails and safe areas.
- A snowmobile should be used only after a proper training.
- Never snowmobile on a lake or a river.
The children may not be able to tell their problems themselves, so the parents and guardians should be watchful regarding any signs and symptoms regarding the cold. They should look for any symptoms of frostbite like skin blisters on the feet, toe, fingers, nose or ears. In case the symptoms of frostbite are noticed then the child should be immediately brought indoors to dip the affected body part in warm water. Unusual shivering, Slurred speech and unusual behavior are symptoms of hypothermia. In case such symptoms are noticed in the child then you should seek immediate medical help.